All-electric Porsche Macan begins on-road testing

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Prototype testing of the new Macan model is underway.

It’s passed proving grounds tests and now the all-electric version of the Porsche Macan is hitting the road for additional testing. The highly-camouflaged next-generation prototypes of the compact SUV left the Porsche Development Center in Weissach, Germany for the first time this week.

“Testing in a real-life environment is now getting underway – one of the most important milestones in the development process,” said Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, at Porsche AG.

By the time the Macan EV is fully revealed in 2023, it will have garnered 1.8 million test miles worldwide in a variety of terrains and temperatures. Testing will even be done in virtual space, which is designed to save time and money. General Motor is using similar technology. These digital tests are able to analyze properties, systems, and powertrains of a vehicle.

Porsche Macan EV

An electric version of the Porsche Macan leaves the company’s testing grounds in Germany.Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche has created 20 digital prototypes for the purpose of simulation in a number of development categories, such as aerodynamics, energy management and acoustics. “We regularly collate the data from the various departments and use it to build up a complete, virtual vehicle that is as detailed as possible,” said Dr Andreas Huber, Manager for digital prototypes at Porsche.

The first teams to work with the digital prototypes are aerodynamics specialists. “We started with a flow-around model when the project first started about four years ago,” said Dr Thomas Wiegand, Director of aerodynamics development. The goal is a low coefficient of drag that blends that goal with the hallmark looks of the Macan SUV. Currently, engineers are using simulations to fine-tune details such as the cooling air ducts.

Simulations are also able to predict how the vehicle interacts with the driver in real life. “Simulation allows us to assess displays, operating procedures and the changing influences during a journey from the driver’s point of view,” explains Fabian Klausmann of the Driver Experience development department. This allows research and development team members to see how a driver would interact with the vehicle before any physical cockpit is built.

Porsche is designing the new fully-electric Macan to be the highest performer in its subcompact SUV segment. It will be the first Porsche built on the company’s Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture.

The boutique performance arm of Volkswagen Group will sell the Macan EV side-by-side with internal combustion engine models of the car. “Demand for electric vehicles continues to rise, but the pace of change varies considerably across the world. That’s why we’re going to launch another conventionally powered evolution of the current Macan in the course of 2021,” said Steiner.

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